Mastitis (inflammation of the breast) or blocked ducts can occur when breastfeeding. Blocked ducts can lead to infection which may require antibiotics. Physiotherapy treatment can help clear blocked ducts and reduce inflammation.
What causes mastitis?
Usually a blocked duct or incomplete emptying of milk from the breast will cause mastitis. This can be due to poor attachment to the breast by the infant, ill-fitting/tight bra or crop top or nipple damage.
You may feel like you have the flu, feeling unwell with aches and feeling hot and cold. Your breast may have a red, sore area. It may feel hard and hot.
Continue to feed your baby/express milk from the affected breast. Use warmth over the affected area prior to feeding/expressing. At other times you can use something cool in the area for comfort. Gentle massage of the area while feeding/expressing can help to unblock a duct. If symptoms aren’t resolving you may need to see your GP for a course of antibiotics. Advice from a lactation consultant may be helpful if poor attachment is a contributing factor.
Physiotherapy for Mastitis
Physiotherapy treatment may involve therapeutic ultrasound to help reduce inflammation, kinesio taping, and advice about home management.